Sunday, March 18, 2007

Leiya's family

Let's see. It is Sunday morning and the day has just started. We've gone for our walk, Tetsu is out cleaning street gutters (the neighbors take turns monthly and this month is our month.) We also have a neighborhood general meeting scheduled for this morning that Tetsu will definitely go to but I'm not so sure about me.

What can I tell you about today?

How about Leiya? Leiya is 17 and has been in Ohio for a year and a half. She graduated from a neighborhood jr. high but instead of applying for and taking tests for Japanese high school she wanted to go to the States for further education. She had been talking about this off and on from the time she went into jr. high, but I figured it was an impossibility. Takumi had already gone off to the States and was staying with my brother's family. How many kids could I ask him to take on!? Leiya's English while passing in the conversation department, wasn't really good enough to take classes by and of course the biggest problem, who would take her?

A few years ago, a very nice family American family had walked into our church one morning so I went over to greet them. Actually I wasn't sure if they needed English help or not since the wife was obviously Oriental (Chinese American as it turned out) and could very well have been Japanese. (The husband obviously foreign!) They definitely were in need of English help and had just transferred to the city and they were looking for a church to attend. They had three little boys and right away considered enrolling the two youngest in the church kindergarten. From that point on our family became friends with this family. On Sundays I would translate the sermon to the best of my abilities (by writing as quickly as I could what was being said and at the end of the paper passing it on to Scott who read it and passed it on to Bessie). They would often invite us over for lunch and a couple of times Scott came over to help us out with our computer or with bicycles (he repairs them) or I'd go out to lunch with Bessie. Leiya babysat for them once or twice I think.

Fast forward a couple years later when the family had returned to Ohio and Leiya was talking about going to America. "There's no way, Leiya! To go to high school you'd have to be there for at least three years! Keion can't take you and who else would take on a foreign student for three years!? One year maybe, but not three years!" We went back and forth with this until one day someone asked Leiya if she had prayed about it. I think she answered, no, but I suddenly realized that I hadn't prayed either. I'd just assumed that it wasn't possible. Well, pray I did and then God hit me with going boldly before the Lord. I took this also to mean, going boldly to this good family and asking them if they might take Leiya for high school. Their answer was so quickly yes that I said, "well, pray about it!" And by the way this was for three years! They still said yes!

We hemmed and hawed for a couple more months wondering if Leiya was too young, if she had the dedication, personality, ability etc. etc. to move to the States and blend in with a new family, a new school, a new culture. In the summer of 2005 I took her to the States and settled her in. You cannot believe how Bessie prepared for her! The youngest boy agreed to move out of his room and bunk with his brother. Bessie repainted the room, bought new bedroom furniture, just welcomed her with open arms!

Life hasn't always been easy I'm sure, and there have been bouts of homesickness, and spats with different family members. As someone once put it, Leiya's host family is storing up treasures in heaven for all the good works they are doing for Leiya and we are eternally grateful to them. We saw Leiya last summer and she looks good and seems to be maturing. I'm sure it is because of the love and guidance that the family gives to her. And of course the prayers we all pray. And Leiya, too, has been working harder than she ever has in her life and realizing that she can do a lot she never expected she could.

Thank you Lord! Thank you Scott, Bessie, Noah, Caleb and Elijah! And thank you Leiya!


Conni Lu said...

Tanya, Your story makes me feel both happiness and sadness for you. So happy that everything is working out (according to God's plan) for everyone involved, yet a wee bit sad for you that your precious daughter is so far from home and you can't see her beautiful face every day. You are a brave mom to endure the separation. If you come again to the states to visit, please contact me because I would love to meet you in person as we have become friends through our blogs. Ohio is next-door state to Indiana! :D

teodo said...

Hi Tanya, sometimes the separations are difficult but I think that it makes more big the love for mom. I send you a big kiss.

My blocks white and red are to help the research for leukemia.
ciao ciao